read, knit, sleep

Well I've been reading lots, and that means I've been working on my reading hoodie. (As it has now been named). [photopress:greyhoodieprogress1.JPG,full,pp_image]

After 17 rounds of pink, I switched to the gray wool and knit one round. I then purled one round for a turning row, which isn't strictly necessary - other options would be to leave it out for a softer edge or to (k2tog, yo) around for a picot edge - but I quite like the crispness of the edge it creates. For the outside of the hem I knit it until the stitches on the needle lined up with the cast on stitches (well the stitches being held by the provisional cast on). This ended up being 17 rounds. The main reason I like this method of working a provisional cast on is that it unzips so easily. If you've ever had to unpick a provisional cast on by pulling the spare yarn through the stitches individually you'll know that's invaluable. I unzipped the stitches onto a 2.25mm needle, 2 sizes smaller than my working needle. If I'd had a smaller needle I would probably have used it, this one was quite tight.

[photopress:greyhoodieprogress2.JPG,full,pp_image] Once I had all my cast on stitches on the smaller needle I performed a crazy wrestling with a squirming octopus act until I had everything arranged like this. You can see here why I knit the very first row of the hem in gray - it means that I don't have to knit stitches of two different colours together which would look messy on the outside.

[photopress:greyhoodieprogress3.JPG,full,pp_image]

The tutorial I linked to in my last post suggested using a needle several sizes larger than the working needle to knit the 2 sets of live stitches together in order to avoid this row being too tight and pulling in. I used a 3.25mm needle and there is no noticeable difference in the sizes of the stitches in this row and in the others. There is a noticeable dip, but I think this is just an integral feature of this kind of hem. In future I might try using an even bigger needle to see what effect that would have, but this whole operation took about an hour and a half, so I wasn't about to rip it out to satisfy my curiosity. [photopress:greyhoodieprogress4.JPG,full,pp_image]

When I switched colours on the hem I wove a couple of the yarn tails in while knitting. I didn't think to do this with the very first tails, but when I folded up the hem they were conveniently positioned so I wove in the gray tails individually on the following two rows and now I only have one pink end to darn in at the end. I weave the yarn ends in by holding the tail in my left hand (I generally knit English with the working yarn in my right hand) and lifting it alternately over and under the working yarn between stitches. [photopress:greyhoodieprogress5.JPG,full,pp_image]

Here's my progress this morning, I'd just worked the first round of decreases. [photopress:greyhoodieprogress7.JPG,full,pp_image]

And how the hem looks on the inside, I'm delighted with this colour combination and the neatness of everything. [photopress:greyhoodieprogress6.JPG,full,pp_image]

Right now I've completed the waist decreases and I'm going to allow myself to break my self imposed no knitting on this while not reading rule. I can't find a 60 cm (24") circular needle in the right size and the last round of decreases made it just too tight for the 80 cm (32") needle I'd been using. Luckily I have two of them so I'm knitting the waist section on two needles. Not ideal for reading what with the switching so I'm going to watch the L Word now and hopefully, at least get most of the 15 rounds I have left to knit before I can increase it back onto one needle. Tomorrow I'll post how I calculated the shaping.

And because this is my reading hoodie I thought I'd keep track of everything I read while knitting it.

While swatching: The second half of The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood - I first read this when I was 12 or 13, and although I enjoyed it more then it's still one of those books that I think everyone should read. I'm doing a course on 20th century utopias (including dystopias) and the book we studied last week, Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy also most definitely falls into that category. I hadn't encountered it before, and I'm already looking forward to re-reading it before exam time.

While knitting the hem: Giving an Account of Oneself by Judith Butler.

So far on the body:

Extracts from Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses by Louis Althusser. This made me, and the rest of my study group feel fairly stupid. I don't think it would be at all easy to understand without a thorough knowledge of Marxism (which I certainly don't have) but it did make for some interesting discussion in relation to ideology and subjectivity in The Handmaid's Tale.

The Laugh of the Medusa by Helene Cixous (I have no idea how to add the accents that should be there) and A Manifesto for Cyborgs by Donna Haraway.

I have a dissertation* on blogging and female self-narratives due in a week on Friday, so most of what I'm reading is in relation to that. There isn't a lot of specific material out there, so if you happen to know of something I might find interesting let me know. Yes I got to choose my own topic, I intentionally decided on something that would mean procrastination counted as research. Which has, incidentally been very interesting. * I know that my use of this term has confused before. The thing is only 6000 words. I'm not sure how well it fits with conventions but that's what my department (and to my knowledge other Universities in the country) call it. I'm in my final year of my undergraduate degree in English Literature, I'm not a prodigy working on a phd at 21.

in which the reading hoodie becomes shapely

mindful mindless knitting